There’s obviously no “off” in the offseason for Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel.
After ending the season as the Ravens’ starting center, Urschel announced on Twitter he is starting his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is listed as a graduate student for Spectral Graph Theory, Numerical Linear Algebra and Machine Learning.
After reading that, it feels like Urschel is more likely to be a character on “The Big Bang Theory” than a lineman pushing a 340-pound nose tackle off the line of scrimmage.
Urschel is one of the most unique players in the game and is proving that you can be a student-athlete beyond college. The winner of the “academic Heisman” coming out of Penn State, Urschel had his research published in peer-reviewed academic journals in his spare time. His latest one was titled “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians.”
In June, Urschel visited the National Security Agency to discuss his passion at “Mathfest.” After he sustained a concussion in August, Urschel was working on high-level math problems just to see where he stood.
The amazing part is that Urschel is doing all of this while becoming a rising offensive lineman on the Ravens. In his first two seasons, he stepped up when injured starters went down, starting five games at guard as a rookie (including two in the playoffs) and seven games at center in 2015. There is a chance that Urschel will become a full-time starter in 2016 if Kelechi Osemele isn’t re-signed in free agency.
It would be interesting to see Urschel’s two worlds converge one day if he earns the right to be announced in pregame introductions as “Dr. John Urschel.”